'We would shoot down Kim's nuke'
NORTH Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs were a serious threat to America, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said yesterday.
The US was prepared to shoot down a North Korean missile launch or test "coming towards our territory or the territory of our friends and allies”, Mr Carter said on NBC's Meet the Press.
North Korea declared on Sunday that it could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at any time from any location.
It claimed a hostile US policy was to blame for its arms development.
"The ICBM will be launched any time and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea),” a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.
Last week, leader Kim Jong-un said his nuclear-capable country was close to test launching an ICBM.
North Korea has reportedly been testing rocket engines and heat shields for an ICBM, plus the technology to guide a missile on re-entry into the atmosphere.
Although Pyongyang may be close to a test, it is expected to take some years to perfect the weapon, experts have said.
UN sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since 2006 because of its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.